The 8 Best Road Trip Destinations in the U.S.!Adam Brinkman
After all the recent winter storms and bitter cold, we started thinking about what it will be like when the weather is good again, the sun is shining, and we can go back outside. We try to respond to negative situations by making plans for when things are positive again, and right now, we’re thinking road trip! These are the eight best road trip destinations in the U.S. (in a random order).
1. Big Sur
Looking for a shorter road trip that’s as fun to drive as it is photogenic? Drive Highway 1 to see Monterey, Pebble Beach, Carmel, and Big Sur.
Plan to make a stop at one of the many wineries with an attached restaurant, visit historical buildings designed by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright, and witness the Lone Cypress on the 17-mile drive. This 250-year-old tree is a well-known road trip destination in California, and those who’ve seen it swear the experience is live-changing.
2. Going-to-the-Sun Road
Visit Glacier National Park in Northwest Montana—from the comfort of your car (or a luxury rental)! You’ll see jagged cliffs and mountains stretched out in every direction, lush green forests, deep blue lakes, deep valleys, the remnants of ancient glaciers, and at Saint Mary Lake, a 100-foot high waterfall.
Along the way, keep an eye out for mountain goats, bighorn sheep, deer, and the occasional moose (and the even-more-occasional lost grazing cattle). Time of year is a factor: it’s best driven in the summer because the road can be dangerous if you’re not used to driving narrow, winding mountain roads; better weather makes it easier to navigate. During winter, the road is closed after it’s too snowed in to drive safely.
3. Great River Road
If your bucket list includes visiting every state in the union, you can cross 10 of them off by driving the Great River Road along the Mississippi River. We recommend driving this route north to south to see the many wildlife resorts along the way. Small river towns are ideal places to stop and stretch your legs, and the trip ends in New Orleans, where you can enjoy local delicacies like jazz, beignets, and implausibly sized fishbowl drinks!
4. Route 66
There’s a song and a denim jeans brand, and it’s featured in all the most iconic 1960s beat poet road trip novels, making Route 66 an obvious choice if you want your road trip experience to be the road trip experience.
Stretching from the Grand Canyon to the Colorado River, you’ll get to take in the local sights spanning dozens of local areas across six states! Along the way, stop at seasonal Midwest festivals and be sure to visit at least one of the three—yes, three—Route 66 museums in Oklahoma.
5. Interstate 17 and Red Rock Scenic Byway
Yes, there’s a byway on our best road trip destination list (you’re welcome!). In contrast to the other road trips on this list, by taking a minor detour on Red Rock Scenic Byway, you’ll be treated to the vast desert terrains and mountainous rock formations that jut out of the ground and into the sky, ancient and seemingly endless.
This terrain is popular for filming sci-fi movies set on alien planets because of how objectively alien and uncanny it is compared to other types of terrain that’s more common and hospitable to life.
Tip: If you’re taking a road trip in the desert, make sure the car you’re driving was fully checked out first, including tires that are rated for driving on hot sand. Regular tires can melt in hot sand and lead to you being stranded in the desert. Be careful!
6. Olympic Peninsula
For a road trip where the “pit stops” are more like mini camping trips, complete with the opportunity to hike through a literal rainforest in the heart of a national park, you won’t find a better option than the Olympic Peninsula.
You can drive the road either clockwise or counter; both paths will give you awe-inspiring mountain views of the Olympic ranges, Instagram-worthy sights like ocean shorelines, waterfalls, small logging towns (small logging towns are popular on Instagram, right?), and Lake Crescent.
7. Route 6a
Somewhere between the experience of driving above the speed limit on a busy highway and leisurely driving long, winding roads is Cape Cod’s scenic and historic Route 6a. This includes villages that were first established in 1639, stores that have been in business since the 1850s, and other local attractions that also double as historical sites.
Besides making a stop or five to explore the villages, you’ll want to be sure to watch as gorgeous beach views slowly give way to freshwater ponds and Nickerson State Park, which is composed of 2,000 acres of scrubby pine and oak forest.
8. U.S. Route 50 (Yes, the Whole Thing)
Looking for the ultimate, most epic, and extreme road trip that has the potential to turn into something between an endurance test and isolation-torture (depending on who’s in the car with you)?
Take U.S. Route 50 from Ocean City, Maryland to Sacramento, California. In between the long stretches of time where it can seem like your car is the only car driving this road—maybe even like you’re the last people on earth—you’ll be reminded that, yes, there are still other people: they live in the hundreds of small towns you’ll drive past along the way.
How to Avoid Homesickness on Your Road Trip
If you get homesick on your road trip, try doing something that reminds you of home. Our top pick? Play a game of Cornhole—with a new cornhole set that has one-of-a-kind graphics designed by you! Simply fill out our design request form, and our digital artist will get to work on your new cornhole board. Remember a cornhole board carrying case to take your favorite game on the go!